Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You Can Really Do That??!!

Whenever you meet someone new, the question “What do you do” inevitably comes up. I love getting that question! Why? Because we do something at IDS that most people have never heard of and they find it truly fascinating. I’ve immediately got their attention. Their eyes widen with interest as I explain what we do. Then finally comes the “Wow! I didn’t know you could do that!”

We sure can.

So what exactly do we do?

We can find drug users and traffickers by testing property instead of people. How? I’m glad you asked!

As people sweat, they secrete harmful toxins from their bodies. Included in that category are narcotic substances. So as it turns out, people that use illegal drugs leave a “trail” as they go about their daily activities. They transfer trace amounts of invisible narcotic residue to the surfaces they touch (ie. computers, phones, lockers, steering wheels, clothing, etc.).

That’s not just true for people who use drugs. Those who traffic illegal narcotics also leave a trail on surfaces. In the process of handling those drugs, they get the residue on their hands which can be transferred to surfaces.

Lastly, the production of illegal drugs leaves surface residue behind. Here in Missouri we have a big problem with the production of Methamphetamine. The production of Meth leaves a toxic residue on the walls, carpets, HVAC systems and more in the property where the “cooking” takes place. This is a very harmful situation that can affect future occupants of a home, apartment, motel room, or car where Meth production took place.

Integrity Detection Systems has brought an amazing technology to St. Louis called DrugWipe. DrugWipe is a device that can detect invisible traces of illegal narcotic residue on surfaces. That residue can be from either drug users, traffickers, or from the production of illegal narcotics.

A similar device, PreScreen, is used for drug testing individuals. PreScreen works by swiping the collection pads across someone’s forehead or hands to collect a sweat sample.

DrugWipe and PreScreen kind of resemble a home pregnancy test in both size and function. There are a few fleece pads that are used to collect samples off a surface. The device is then activated by using water to draw the sample through the device.

Within 5 minutes a red line appears in the read-out window that shows what type of drug, if any, was detected. There are also control lines that show the device functioned properly and hadn’t been tampered with.

Inside the device are patented “biosensors”, which are highly specific antibodies that will bind with any drug particles present in the sample. DrugWipe and PreScreen test simultaneously for cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and amphetamines. Derivatives of those drugs are also detected (like Heroin and Morphine in the Opiate class; Meth and XTC in the Amphetamine class).

Pretty cool, huh?

We’ve started this blog to discuss the technology, the issue of drugs in our society, interesting things we find during our assessments (though due to confidentiality we will NEVER identify our clients), and business in general. Hope you come back and visit us often!